Will you go to heaven when you die?

This is a very real question that every human who has ever lived must contemplate.  No one can answer it for you.  It is entirely up to
you.  You are the only one on earth that knows the answer.  

We all have this inherent feeling of balance that tells us that if our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds, we are a relatively good
person.  We consider our relationships with people we know; family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, passersby, and even
complete strangers.  Our experiences help us determine if they are good or bad.  It helps us survive in this world.

Most people believe there is a God.  But, at the same time, most have only a partial understanding of who He is.  We tend to think of
God as a deified human.  Just like us only bigger and more powerful.  We tend to think that God sees us the same way that we see
each other; as relatively good people or relatively bad people.

But God is not like us.  God is perfect and holy and righteous.  We are flawed and sinful.  And, because God is perfect, holy and
righteous, sin cannot exist in His presence.

So, we need to understand one simple truth; it is not our level of badness that separates us from God, it is our sin.

The bible makes it very clear that we all have sinned.  But, what is sin?  

Sin is a conscious rebellion against God.  

It is our way of saying to God, “I know what you expect, but I choose to do it my own way.”  “I want to live by my own rules and not
yours.”

“For all have sinned, all have fallen short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23)

That simple statement is a huge stumbling block for many people.  We look at ourselves and we say, “I’m a good person.  I try not to
hurt anyone.  I don’t steel things, and if I lie, it’s just a little lie that doesn’t hurt anyone.  I’m certainly not a murderer, or a rapist, so
what more do I need?”

If we compare ourselves to other people, most of us really aren’t all that bad.  But the part of Romans 3:23 that we tend to overlook
is this;  We are being compared to God’s standard, not our own.  So what is God’s standard?

God gave us the Ten Commandments so that we would know what He expects of us.  They can be found in Exodus 20:2-17.  This is
the short list:

(1)        I am the Lord your God, you will have no other gods before me.
(2)        Do not make idols of any kind.
(3)        Do not misuse the Lord’s name.
(4)        Keep the Sabbath Day holy.
(5)        Honor your father and mother.
(6)        Do not murder.
(7)        Do not commit adultery.
(8)        Do not steal.
(9)        Do not lie.
(10)        Do not covet anything that belongs to another.

When you look at the list, it doesn’t take long to see that we have fallen short.  Sure, most of us have never murdered anyone.  And,
most might even say that they have never had an affair.  Fewer might say they have never stolen anything.  And, even fewer can say
that they never wanted something that belonged to someone else.  Almost everyone has lied and used the Lord’s name in a frivolous
manner.  But, how about this; have we allowed something else to be more important in our life than God?  Most would have to say
yes.  It doesn’t matter which of the commandments you have broken or how many, the fact is that we have all done something that
falls short of God’s standard, and therefore, we have all sinned.

James 2:10 tells us that if we have broken any part of the law, we are guilty of breaking the entire law.  In God’s eyes sin is sin.  
Whether you are a murderer or a liar, you are still a sinner.

The truth is that God gave us the Ten Commandments, not as a way to live righteously, but to show us that we are sinners.  Yes, we
have all sinned, and it is our sin that separates us from God.

We sinful humans can never be in the presence of this holy, righteous, perfect, creator God.  Our sin has eternally separated us
from Him.  But, at the same time, this holy, righteous, perfect, creator God wants nothing more than for us to be with Him.  The bible
says that “the wages of sin is death”. (Romans 6:23)  That means that we deserve to be eternally separated from God when we die.  
Unfortunately, there will only be two addresses in eternity:  Heaven and Hell.  If we can’t be in the presence of the Lord in heaven,
then we will most certainly be alone in hell.  The bible has a lot to say about hell, but suffice it to say, you don’t want to be there.

Some say that they don’t believe in an afterlife.  John Lennon wrote the song “Imagine”.  The lyrics say, “Imagine there’s no heaven,
it’s easy if you try.  No hell below us, above us only sky.”  You may have chosen to believe that there is no heaven or hell.  You may
have chosen to believe that there is no God.  The apostle Paul explained that God shows His anger from heaven against all who
“push the truth away” from themselves.  Because, the truth about God is known to us instinctively.  God has put this knowledge on
our hearts.  Ever since the world was created, we have all seen the earth and the sky and everything that God made.  We can
clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature.  So we have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.
(Romans 1:18-20)

Think about it; every civilization in the history of man has known that there is a God.  They didn’t know Him, and they had a hard time
understanding Him, but they knew He existed.  For you to say that there is no God, you literally have to take this thought and push it
away from yourself – push it out of your mind.  But, it is always there.  God placed this knowledge on your heart, not in your head.

Face it.  If you know there’s a God, then you know there’s a heaven.  And if you know there’s a heaven, you know there’s a hell.

Some ask, “How can a loving God send someone to Hell?”  God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, we send ourselves.  Our life here on
earth is the time that God gave us to decide where we want to spend eternity.  He gave us the way to spend eternity with Him in
heaven by sacrificing His Son Jesus Christ on the cross.

The Apostle Peter wrote,
“The Lord isn’t being slow about His promises to return, as some people think.  No, He is being patient for
your sake.  He doesn’t want anyone to perish, so He is giving more time for everyone to repent.” (2Peter3:9 NLT)

Yes, God knew before time even began that we would rebel against him.  But, He loved us so much that He created us anyway.  And,
in doing so, He knew that we would be separated, so He made a way for us to be made right with Him.  

Romans 6:23 reads,
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can never do it on our own.  It is not an issue of being good enough.  Good people don’t go to heaven – forgiven people do.  
Remember that going, or not going to heaven is not about being good or bad – it is about sin.

You may know that God gave Moses the sacrificial rites, some three thousand years ago.  God told Moses to sacrifice animals for
the forgiveness of sins.  But, again, it wasn’t because God wanted to see thousands of innocent animals sacrificed – it was so that
we would see the price that had to be paid for each and every sin - one innocent animal for every sin.  Yes, something had to die.  
We deserve to die for our own sins, but God allowed an animal to die in our place.  The people witnessed the horrible slaughter of
thousands and thousands of innocent animals.  But, as time went on, they realized that they would run out of animals before they
would run out of sin.  It was hopeless.

God had a better plan.  He laid out this plan through the writings of the prophets.  God would send a savior, someone that would die
in our place for our sins.

Someone had to pay the price for us.  Someone of greater “value” had to take our place.  On earth, we acknowledge that there is
nothing of greater value than humans, so who could possibly pay our debt?  Could another human?  No.  Who would pay their
debt?  There is only one correct answer, and that answer is God Himself.

Yes, the God of all creation loved us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) to die in our place.  Can you
even begin to imagine that?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will never perish, but will have everlasting life.”
(John 3:16)

Jesus Christ took upon Himself every sin that ever was and that ever will be, and died a physical death.  He became our sacrifice,
and His sacrifice was so perfect, and so complete that nothing else would ever be needed.  Jesus rose from the dead three days
later to secure for us eternal life with Him.

Jesus wasn’t just a great teacher and a very wise man.  Jesus is, and always was God Himself.  So we have a choice to make.  We
either write Him off as a complete lunatic with some sort of a Messiah complex, or we worship Him as the God of all creation.  But, the
one thing that we can not do is come to Him with some ridiculous notion that He is merely just another way to heaven.  He is either
the only way, or He is no way at all.  He gave us no other option.  He never intended to.

Jesus said,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)

Jesus didn’t come to teach us how to swim, He came to rescue us from drowning.  He came to save our lives.

The Apostle Paul explained it like this;

“We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins.  And we all can be saved in this same way, no
matter who we are or what we have done.  For all have sinned; all have fallen short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:22-23 NLT

“…We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing His life for us...” Romans 3:25 NLT

“Can we boast then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God?  No, because our acquittal is not based on our good
deeds.  It is based on our faith.”  Romans 3:27 NLT

Yes, Jesus paid the price of our sin debt completely – once, and for all.  Every sin that ever was and that ever will be, is paid in full by
the blood of Jesus Christ.  He is the Son of God, and He is the only one that has the power to do that.  And, all we have to do is trust
and believe, ask for forgiveness, and turn from our sins.

So how do we do this?  Paul wrote;

“For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be
saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are
saved.”  Romans 10:9-10 NLT

So, are you saved?  Have you ever trusted in Christ to take away your sins?  No one can do it for you.  You have to do it on your
own.  So, take a minute.  Get right with God.  Put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, and be assured that you will be
with Him in heaven when you leave this earth.

You can pray this prayer out loud;

“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I turn
away from my past sinful life and I turn toward you. Please forgive me, and help me to avoid sinning again. I do believe
that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite
Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to
help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.”

If you have just prayed this prayer, and you meant it from your heart, you can be assured that on the authority of scripture, you are
saved.  You are now a child of God, and your eternal address is heaven.  Your name is now written in the Lambs Book of Life.  You
are now registered as a citizen of Heaven (Luke 10:20).

The Apostle John wrote in his first letter,
"I write this to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal
life." (1John 5:13 NLT).

Please let me know if you made this commitment.  I want to help and encourage you.  Please call or write me, and know that I am
praying for you.

It doesn’t end here.  In fact, this is the beginning of an incredible journey.  It is important that you grow in your understanding of God,
and the best way to do that is by studying His Word – The Bible.  

I recommend that you find a solid, bible teaching church to attend.  Surround yourself with believers like yourself. Find a youth
group, or maybe College & Career.  Join a midweek bible study group.  Many churches have singles groups and parenting groups.  
Don’t worry about fitting in – there is a place for you.  Get connected and enjoy the blessings that God has in store for you as you
come to know Him better.

God Bless you,

Joe
So, do you want to go to heaven?
Written June 8, 2011 by Joe Cunningham